We hear a lot of talk these days about helping veterans, especially those who have suffered permanent injuries in the line of duty. But guess what's the leading cause of sustained impairment among our veterans. If you guessed mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), you would be right. And here's the really depressing thing. The treatments for mTBI are pathetically ineffective. To a large extent that's because they are focused on using either drugs to decrease the symptoms or talk therapy to decrease the effect of the symptoms. There are no treatments that actually focus on fixing the problem. That is until now.
First of all, understand this. "Mild" TBI is not really mild. It just means that the loss of consciousness, confusion, or disorientation after the initial head trauma did not last longer than 30 minutes. The most common symptoms of mTBI are unexplained fatigue, headaches, visual disturbances, memory loss, poor attention and/or concentration, sleep disturbances, dizziness, decreased balance, irritability, emotional disturbances, feelings of depression, and seizures. Other less common symptoms can include nausea, loss of smell, sensitivity to light and sounds, and getting lost or confused. Most cases of mTBI resolve on their own in a few weeks to months. But not all do. Many cases never resolve. And here's the problem.
In cases of unresolved or chronic mTBI, the symptoms may not be present or noticed at the time of injury. They may be delayed days or weeks before they appear. The symptoms are often subtle and are easily missed by the injured person, family, and doctors. The person looks normal and often moves normally in spite of not feeling or thinking normally. This makes the diagnosis easy to miss. And it's important to understand that this is not a psychological disorder. It comes about from a brain injury that won't heal. And the only way to fix it is to fix the injury. And that's exactly why what I am about to tell you is so important.
About a year ago, I reported to you on the marvelous effects we are seeing in our clinic for all kinds of brain associated neurological problems including mTBI. We're using a passive neurofeedback treatment system called IASIS. Now I have the results of an amazing study that has been submitted for publication using IASIS to treat veterans and other patients with mTBI. I can't give you the reference until the study is published, but this is just too important to wait for that.
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The study used a very special brain mapping technique called magnetoencephalography (MEG). MEG does not simply look at an image of the brain. Better yet. Using highly sensitive devices called magnetometers, MEG can monitor brain activity. MEG has been used to research brain processes such as thinking and perception, determine the function of different areas in the brain, measure brain activity, and to identify abnormal areas of the brain before brain surgery. With MEG, it's possible to literally see the injured areas of the brain in patients with mTBI. So with this in mind, here's what the researchers did.
They gave six patients with symptomatic chronic mTBI two IASIS sessions a week for six weeks. A symptom questionnaire (PCS score) was completed and a MEG exam was performed before the first treatment and after the last one. The results showed that at the first MEG exam, all six patients had abnormal slow-wave signals. In the MEG exam following the IASIS treatment, the patients all showed a significant reduction in the abnormal slow-waves in approximately the same brain areas as in the first exam. And that's not even the best part.
The reductions in abnormal MEG slow-wave generation strongly correlated with significant reductions in the symptom scores. The greater the reduction in the abnormal MEG findings, the greater the reduction in the patients' symptoms. This remarkable experiment tends to prove two things.
First, the abnormal MEG signaling is an actual measurement of the brain damage that happened in these patients. And second, IASIS treatments actually treated the cause of the mTBI by successfully repairing the damage. In essence, this might be the first time that we can not only see the cause of mTBI, but also can treat that cause directly. This is fantastic news not only for veterans, but also for the many other patients out there who suffer from mTBI symptoms from accidents or athletic injuries. So, if you have had an mTBI and still have symptoms, let me strongly urge you to find an IASIS practitioner and treat the cause instead of just drugging up or living with the symptoms. To find that practitioner go to www.microcurrentneurofeedback.com or call 951-972-3013.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD